The Sixers' defense set the tone in their 33rd victory of the season. Doug Collins' team held the Cavaliers to 37 percent shooting and held Cleveland star Kyrie Irving to a new career low.
It amounted to a 91-77 win in the Sixers' final home game of the season (see Instant Replay).
“The game plan was to take Kyrie out of things as much as possible,” said Spencer Hawes, who scored 14 points and handed out a team-high six assists. “We wanted the other guys to beat us. Between that and Irving’s foul trouble, things worked out.”
Irving, who averages 22.9 per game, finished with just four points on 1-for-6 shooting. It's the fewest points he's ever scored in his pro career. In four meetings against the Sixers since coming into the NBA two years ago, Irving has averaged just 8.5 points. In 108 games played in his pro career, Irving has only 11 single-digit scoring nights and three of those have been against the Sixers.
“He is scary,” Jrue Holiday said of the All-Star’s talents. “It is not just me [defending Irving]. I owe a lot to the guys who are behind me, talking to me, helping me out so that he sees two or three bodies.”
Holiday finished with 14 points, five rebounds and four assists compared to Irving’s four points, three rebounds and three assists. Irving played less than two minutes in the second half after picking up a fifth personal foul.
“We had a really good defensive mindset,” Doug Collins said. “We did a really good job of trapping Kyrie. We try to keep him to the side of the floor. We try to trap him and we really try to come at him with high hands so he passes that ball out of the trap. We try to keep him off the free throw line and then you have to make him guard you.”
Irving attempted just one free throw as opposed to the five free throws he averages per game.
The Sixers had six players score in double figures, including Arnett Moultrie, who finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
“Arnett did a really nice job today. I think he has a bright future and I think Justin Holiday has a bright future,” Collins said of his two rookies. “Holiday knows how to defend his position and he really knows how to play. So that is exciting to see those young guys, because I think Arnett and Justin have a chance to be really good.”
Justin Holiday finished with six points and six rebounds.
The Sixers wrapped up the home portion of their season with a winning record of 23-18.